Schooling Differentials and Health and Mortality in Denmark: To What Extent is Schooling a Marker for Background Differentials versus Directly Affecting Health and Mortality?

Jere Behrman, University of Pennsylvania
Vibeke Jensen, University of Aarhus
Dorthe Pedersen, University of Southern Denmark
Inge Petersen, University of Southern Denmark
Paul Bingley, University of Aarhus
Kaare Christensen, University of Southern Denmark

Schooling differentials are a major component of socioeconomic differentials. Schooling also generally is positively associated with better health/mortality outcomes. But these associations do not measure how much schooling causes better health/mortality outcomes. Schooling may be proxying in part for unobserved endowments including family background and genetics that have causal effects. This study’s principal goals are (1) to describe associations between schooling and health/mortality; and (2) to investigate causal impacts of schooling on health and mortality using data on Danish twins. These data in combination with appropriate econometric modeling promise a quantum increase in understanding of causal effects of schooling on health/mortality outcomes. Both goals will examine whether there are significant differences (a) between females and males, (b) across birth cohorts, (c) for health-related behaviors versus health/mortality outcomes, (d) for physical versus mental/psychological health, and (e) between effects of adult schooling on their own versus their children’s health.

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Presented in Session 28: Socioeconomic Differentials in Health and Mortality